Looks like James Cameron will have to wait to share his 3-D technology with Martians.
NASA recently announced that it was killing plans to include a 3-D camera on the next Mars rover (named Curiosity) due to time restraints for development and testing.
It was reported that Cameron personally lobbied NASA administrator Charles Bolden for the chance to include the technology, arguing that a rover with 3-D "eyes" would better help the mission capture the public's imagination.
"It's a very ambitious mission. It's a very exciting mission," Cameron said last April. "(The scientists are) going to answer a lot of really important questions about the previous and potential future habitability of Mars."
According to Mars Science Laboratory Project scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, the team simply ran out of time. "The possibility for a zoom-camera upgrade was very much worth pursuing, but time became too short for the levels of testing that would be needed for them to confidently replace the existing cameras," he said.
"While Curiosity won't benefit from the 3-D motion imaging that the zooms enable, I'm certain that this technology will play an important role in future missions," Cameron said in a statement. "In the meantime, we're certainly going to make the most of our cameras that are working so well on Curiosity right now."
The Curiosity rover is slated for launch late this year, with an expected arrival date on Mars of August 2012. According to PC Mag, if all goes well, the rover will take part in a two-year mission that will examine whether conditions in the landing area have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving evidence about whether life has existed there.